Monday, August 2, 2010

Politics via PSA

If you've been watching the news on WPXI-TV lately, you've no doubt seen "public service announcements" featuring Allegheny County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty. In the ads, Flaherty touts the work done by his office’s weights and measures division in making sure Allegheny County residents are getting the lunch meat and gasoline they're entitled to. That's all well and good, but what is interesting is that the so-called public service announcements are paid for by the Friends of Mark Patrick Flaherty political action committee. In other words, it's a campaign ad disguised as a PSA. If it were a real public service announcement, perhaps a simple video made by someone in Flaherty's office and offered to the local TV stations, WPXI most likely would run it for free, though not in the middle of the morning and evening news shows, which are prime advertising time. Heck, he probably could have gotten one of the WPXI talking heads to do the voice work on a real PSA, but that doesn't get Mark Patrick Flaherty's face on the screen in front of voters who might (will) be asked to cast their ballots for him as he makes a run for a higher office. Flaherty might contend that he's not currently running for anything. Well, I'm willing to wait and see. If Flaherty never runs for county executive or some other office that would constitute a "promotion," I'm a liar. If he does, we'll know what these "public service announcements" were all about.

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